On Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, 10 March 2021, the SRJC, in collaboration with its members, hosted a webinar to celebrate and honour the work of our abortion providers across the country.
Key issues that emerged during the event included the extent to which abortion providers still face stigma in their places of work, from their colleagues, as well as their managers. This ultimately leads to limited access to equipment and resources for providers to do their work, and also threatens the retention of healthcare workers providing safe abortion services.
At the same time, we know that our legal abortion providers are critical to ensuring sexual and reproductive justice in South Africa. They work at the frontlines combatting the harm caused by backstreet abortion services, and their presence enables free and safe abortion to be accessible to all who wish to access abortion services.
What our providers do is deeply political: their work ensures that the sexual and reproductive health rights of all people can be met. They give the power of bodily autonomy back to the person seeking abortion, because they enable women, girls and gender non-conforming persons to have choice.
As one provider stated during the webinar, ““As abortion providers and managers, we actively—with great passion—give women back the power to choose what happens to their bodies without interference. It is empowering work that challenges patriarchy.”
Recognising and valuing the role that providers play helps us to address the systemic issues that pose a barrier to reproductive justice.
If you missed the event, catch up by watching the recording below. You can also check out the hashtags #celebratelegalproviders and #ilovemyabortionprovider to follow the conversation we have held via Twitter this past month.